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Mangrove Jack (Lutjanidae) Photographs and Information

Mangrove Jacks are members of the sea perch and pacific snapper family.

They are also known as red bream, seaperch

The mangrove jack or jack is also called red bream or red chopper in some areas and, less commonly, dog bream or red perch. Mangrove jack are occasionally confused with two similar or closely related fish; the sometimes poisonous red bass (L. bohar) and the fingermark bream (L.johnii).

This deep-bodied, medium-sized member of the family Lutjanidae is characterised by large, dark eyes, powerful jaws and strong, canine teeth. The base colour of the mangrove jack varies from olive-green through grey to a rusty, ochre or brick red. This is usually overlaid with lighter or darker vertical stripes, but these are not always evident. Another common colour variation features a darker centre on each scale, giving a spotted or chequered effect. Juvenile jacks are particularly striking. Their vertical bands are pronounced and they have fine, electric-blue lines around their eyes and a flush or crimson and yellow in their white-tipped ventral fins.

Mangrove Jacks live in estuaries, rivers or tidal creeks until they reach sexual maturity.  They then move to offshore reefs.  Sometimes they are found well up in the freshwater reaches of rivers.

Most jacks caught on hook and line weigh from 0.4 to 2 kg, although 2.5 to 4 kg fish are reasonably abundant in more remote areas. Exceptional fish weighing up to 12 kg and more mainly come from offshore reefs.

Mangrove Jack prefer dense cover, and when they attack fish, bait or lure, they dive back into that cover,  often resulting in snags and cut lines.  When they are on offshore reefs they are much easier to capture, but they are a very powerful fish.  Although more common in tropical waters, mangrove jacks are found from about Sydney Harbour in the south, right around the northern half of the country to Shark Bay in Western Australia. They range from freshwater rainforest streams, down through the tidal reaches of coastal rivers, bays and harbours and out to adjacent headlands and reefs. Large adult jacks may move several kilometres offshore to take up residence on deeper reefs or wrecks.

Mangrove Jack (Lutjanidae) Photo

Map showing where Mangrove Jack (Lutjanidae) are found in Australian waters

Red Jack, Mangrove Jack Fish

Scientific Name Family:  Lutjanidae
Location NT, QLD, NSW
Season All year round
Size Over 90cm, 10.8 kg
Australian Species Code 37 346905
Taste, Texture Excellent eating fish.


Nutritional Information
For every 100 grams raw product
for Mangrove Jack fillet.

Kilojoules -
Cholesterol 21 mg
Sodium -
Total fat (oil) 0.4 g
Saturated fat 31% of total fat
Monounsaturated fat 16% of total fat
Polyunsaturated fat 53% of total fat
Omega-3, EPA 11 mg
Omega-3, DHA 117 mg
Omega-6, AA 38 mg

Angling for Mangrove Jack:

The mangrove jack is one of the most popular and sought-after tropical estuarine species. Many are taken on live or dead baits fished close to cover, or on lures - especially minnow-style plugs or wobblers - cast, retrieved or trolled from a boat, or from the river bank. Jacks are powerful, no-holds-barred battlers that will dive back into the snags and cut a line if given the slightest chance to do so. Their strike is sudden and hard, often taking the angler by surprise.

Saltwater Fish - What bait to use for fishing - a list of saltwater baits with the main "diners" who will be tempted.

John Bell with great example of a Mangrove Jack!
Photo from John Bell - Thanks JB!

Cooking Mangrove Jack:

Mangrove Jack, Red Jack Fish, Sea Perch fish fillet

Colour of Raw Fillet:



Moist, firm and flaky

Fat Content:


The mangrove jack is a delicious, sweet-fleshed fish, although very large specimens tend to be somewhat dry and coarse. If there is any doubt about distinguishing mangrove jacks from red bass (such as with large, reef-caught fish) the fish should not be consumed, as the red bass is a regular carrier of the toxin ciguatera, which can cause illness and even death.

Most seaperches have superb white flesh and a delicate, yet generous, flavour. They can be prepared in a wide range of ways including grilling, poaching, deep frying, shallow frying, baking and steaming.

Simple pan-frying allows for a range of different flavours and textures to be utilised. Seaperches are often large, but the smaller fish are excellent baked whole (gilled and gutted).

Microwave Cooking Times for Fish
- Fish fillets 5 minutes per 500g on medium-high, +50 seconds more for thicker fillets, or until flesh flakes
- Whole fish - Large 6 minutes/750g on medium
- Whole fish Small 3-4 minutes on medium

Easy Fish Recipes - From How To Cook Fish

Recipes Suitable for this fish:

red snapper recipe snapper fish soup foil baked snapper snapper fish on asparagus
Red Snapper with Island Citrus Shrimp Ceviche and Lemon Beurre Blanc Mussel and Red Snapper Soup Vietnamese Snapper Prosciutto Wrapped Snapper

Commercial Fishing for Mangrove Jack:

Wild caught, Some species, such as golden seaperch (Lutjanus johnii), show potential for aquaculture.

Recovery Rate
Fillets: 38% from whole seaperch


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